Misfeasance in Public Office

The tort of misfeasance in a public office has its origin in the premise that public powers are to be exercised for the public good. The tort is committed where a public officer abuses his or her office and causes damage to another person. The plaintiff must prove the following four elements: first, that the defendant is a "public officer"; second, that the defendant acted in the exercise or purported exercise of his or her office; third, that the defendant acted with malice towards the plaintiff, or with knowledge that he or she was acting invalidly and that damage to the plaintiff would result; and fourth, that the plaintiff suffered damage as a result of the defendant's conduct.

For the purposes of the tort of misfeasance in a public office, a public officer is a person who is appointed to discharge a public duty and who receives compensation, in whatever shape, from the Crown or otherwise. Examples of a public officer are: a returning officer; a councillor; a government minister; a member of the Police; and a prison officer.

In an action for misfeasance in public office you must show that you suffered special damage. Such damage may include damage to reputation, loss of employment, or other economic loss. Emotional distress alone does not constitute actionable damage, although it may be an aggravating consideration. Exemplary damages also may be awarded.

If you believe that you have suffered damage as a result of a public officer acting maliciously towards you, talk to Rennie Cox about your remedies.